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Cabernet Sauvignon

Pronounced: Cab-err-nay So-vin-yon

This is one of the most famous black grapes. These grapes have very thick skins which gives the resulting wine a high level of tannin. It is this tannin which enables wines to age well for many years. However, the grape is a late-ripener which means that it needs at least a warm climate to grow successfully. The grape gives aromas/flavours of blackcurrant and cedar.

Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in many regions, but it is in Bordeaux that it is most highly praised. Here it is usually mixed with Merlot to give the wines some softness. As a general rule, wines made on the left bank (southern Bordeaux) contain a higher percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (meaning the wines need to age before they are at their best); while the right bank (northern Bordeaux) wines contain a higher percentage of Merlot (making them more drinkable at a younger age). However, this is a very simplistic generalisation.

Cabernet Sauvignon has also gained success in Chile and Northern California. It is also common to find Cabernet Sauvignon blended with Cabernet Franc.

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